A review of hypofractionated palliative radiotherapy

Cancer. 2007 Apr 15;109(8):1462-70. doi: 10.1002/cncr.22555.


Radiotherapy commonly is employed to address symptoms in patients with symptoms caused by cancer. For this article, the authors reviewed data supporting the use of hypofractionated palliative radiotherapy. In addition to single-fraction treatment for painful bony metastasis, the available literature suggested that courses of 2 to 14 external-beam fractions may provide equivalent relief to longer course treatment in patients with a poor prognosis who have primary cancers of the lung, rectum, bladder, prostate, head and neck, spleen, and gynecologic system. Hypofractionated treatment delivers palliation that is time efficient, cost effective, and minimally toxic. Evidence suggests that the reluctance of radiation oncologists to provide single-fraction treatment acts as a barrier to referrals from palliative care professionals. Collaboration in education, research, and patient advocacy will advance the common objectives of the 2 specialties and lead to an appropriate increase in the use of palliative hypofractionated radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Radiation Oncology / trends*